Good Teachers Make a Difference. No, Really?

March 04, 2010

Source: New Jewish Education


Saul Kaiserman of New Jewish Education draws attention to a NY Times Magazine feature article on building better teachers, tying its conclusions to Jewish education. He emphasizes the need to simultaneously be focused on improving pedagogy and content knowledge through professional development as well as paying higher salaries to attract and retain qualified teachers.


Much of the NY Times piece describes effective classroom management techniques illustrated with videos narrated by Doug Lemov, who traveled around the US, documenting and collecting techniques used by high achieving teachers.The taxonomy of 49 essential teaching techniques, used by Lemov in his professional development workshops will be published this spring. Kaiserman suspects that every one of our Religious School teachers would benefit from watching these brief videos - and especially the Hebrew teachers.


Kaiserman concludes:
"The article also notes that "content can’t be completely divorced from mechanics" and that different types of knowledge - mathematics, reading, science - require not only general skills but also ones unique to the subject. The implications for Jewish education are clear: There are skill sets that make for effective teaching of, say, Hebrew, that aren't necessarily the same as teaching about holidays or transferable if you can effectively teach French. Teachers need to be able to deeply understand the material and then be able to effectively share that knowledge with a room full of students who have diverse ways of thinking and learning….


I'm encouraging all of my school faculty to read the article, and especially to watch the videos that the Times has posted. This is some good stuff."

Updated: Mar. 15, 2010